Next month, the Museum of the City of New York will invite visitors to experience NYC in a new, immersive way with an installation entitled Soundscape New York. The exhibit, which opens on March 10th, aims to enhance and elevate people’s experience of visiting New York landmarks like Grand Central Station and Rockefeller Center. Created by James Welty and Karen Van Lengen, the audio-visual installation fuses familiar architectural icons with sound and fantastical animation resulting in an entirely new way of perceiving them.


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Of course, all of the New York architectural icons featured in Soundscape can be enjoyed regularly just by walking through them, but the hustle and bustle of hundreds of other visitors can detract from fully experiencing the space. Welty and Van Lengen’s installation creates a heightened experience of these familiar places, making the visitor feel a connection with the architectural nuances through sound and animation.
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In the exhibition, each landmark takes on a different feel. Grand Central Station is given an oceanic makeover, with a soundscape of clangs and echoes, combined with undersea animations, tying together its function as a transportation hub with the movement of the ocean. New personalities are also assigned to Rockefeller Center, the New York Public Library Reading Room, the Seagram Building lobby and the Guggenheim Museum – each with their own unique soundscape and interactive animation.

The animations were rooted in drawings by Van Lengen that illustrate the sounds she heard when visiting each building, combined with Welty’s sounds that portray the textures within each building.

+ Museum of the City of New York

Lead image: Neo_II